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Get set for the CBR100 Challenge with a free training program

Amanda Whitley

On Saturday, I walked 20km around Sydney. But not all in one go: 5km around the Botanic Gardens; another 5km or so shopping; another 5km walking back from Pyrmont to our city digs in an attempt to work off a rather indulgent lunch (happy birthday, Mr HerCanberra!); and another 5km to find a light dinner and drinks that evening. By the end of the day, I was exhausted…and it dawned on me that I still hadn’t done the 25km that is my goal for the CBR100 Challenge on 21 March. Clearly, some preparation is needed.

So. Starting today I am following the 12 week training program, developed by Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Nick A’Hern, Managing Director of A’Hern Fitness. Designed specifically for 100km, 50km and 25km walkers of all fitness levels, the plans each include four different ‘phases’.

“We have a ‘base’ phase where you’re getting your body ready for the challenge ahead; you’ll then step into an endurance phase, which is where the hard work starts. You start covering some more km, you do back-to-back walks, and introduce strength training, then we move into a taper phase,” says Nick.

“It’s about getting the walks done, getting the recovery done – because listening to your body is a really important part of training; and being physically and mentally ready for the challenge ahead.”

Getting ready for the Challenge

1. Base phase – week 1 to 4

In your base phase it’s time to start walking, and introduce strength training into your weekly schedule. The aim of the base phase is to condition your body to cope with training load.

2. Endurance phase – week 5 to 8

Distances will increase in this phase of training. Now that you have a base to work for, your goal is to gradually increase your training load, also train on consecutive days. A great time to ensure you follow some recovery methods.

3. Going the distance – week 9 to 10

Covering the kilometres in training is a great way to guarantee you are ready of the challenge that lies ahead. In this phase you will experience back-to-back long walk days. This can be challenging but will take you to the next level. Again remember to use your recovery plan.

4. Taper and prepare – week 11 and 12

Mental preparation begins in this phase – by now you will have experiences many highs and lows in your training, so it’s time to believe you can do it. No strength training is done in your taper phase, however training does continue. Distances will decrease and a little more rest is introduced. You’ll continue your recovery plan and be aware of  hydration, clean eating and lots of sleep.


Nutrition is also covered, in a 12 week program developed by Kate Freeman of The Healthy Eating Hub. It will cover everything from pre-training snack ideas, to hydrating properly, and guidance on how to construct a healthy meal.

And as Nick says, “you don’t need to flog yourself every time you go out there – walking’s a great mode of exercise.”

“It’s gentle on joints; heart rate can be achieved by mixing up the gradient and the terrain, getting up some hills. Walking is very achievable by everyone – you can do it with your kids, your dog, wherever you like to do it, it’s just a fantastic way to go!”

And if you’re keen to start walking now, why not consider joining a free Heart Foundation walking group – they’re Australia-wide and offer walking for all sorts of people, paces and places. Just go to the group’s website to find your nearest walking group and follow the simple steps to sign up, or call 1300 36 27 87.

We’re also looking to get some regular HerCanberra training sessions organised. If you’re keen, drop me a line at [email protected] and we’ll get sorted early in 2015.

Find out more about the CBR100 Challenge

If you’re just finding out aboutthe CBR100 Challenge – or would like to know more – there’s a handy video below that you can watch. In a nutshell, the event that will see locals and visitors alike in walking (and now running!) up to 100kms  of  Canberra’s Centenary Trail.

Initially, solo running options were reserved for those keen to tackle the 50km or 100km distance, but the Earlybird Events team had so many people asking about a 25km solo run that they’ve added a new category. If you’ve already registered, and want to swap from the walk to the run, fill out the enquiry form on the CBR100 Challenge website with your details and the team will fix it up for you. If you’ve always wanted to do a half marathon – or have already done one and are keen to push yourself a little bit further – this is the perfect opportunity!

Get a great deal on registration!

Register before Friday 16 January and take advantage of a special HerCanberra reader rate for all challenges and all distances. Simply register here using the CBROHCHERCAN code to receive the reduced price.

Join a HerCanberra Team!

Want to join some of the writing team and other HerCanberra readers for the CBR100 Challenge? We’re looking to get some regular HerCanberra teams and training sessions organised. If you’re keen, drop me a line at [email protected] letting me know your preferred times, days and locations and we’ll get sorted!

the essentials

What:  CBR100 Challenge
Where: Centenary Trail
When: 21-22 March, 2015
Register: Registrations are open now!

Image of five female runners in training from


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author